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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS Sumter
CSS General Sumter

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

Sidewheel Steamer-Ram:
  • Built in 1853 as the sidewheel steamer Junius Beebe, at Algiers, LA. for operation as a tow boat
  • Purchased by the State of Louisiana in early 1861 from the Southern Steamship Co.
  • Acquired by the Confederate War Department in January 1862
  • Refitted at Algiers as a cottonclad ram, commissioned CSS General Sumter CAPT W. W. Lamb CSN in command
  • During the Civil War CSS General Sumter was assigned to the Confederate River Defense Fleet and participated in the following actions:
    Defense of Memphis at Fort Pillow - in a coordinated attack CSS General Sumter and CSS General Sterling Price defeated the Union Gunboat USS Cincinnati at Plum Point below Fort Pillow
    Battle of Memphis, 6 June 1862 - badly damaged and run aground on the Arkansas shore
    Captured and refloated by the Union navy, commissioned USS Sumter
    Final Disposition ran aground in August 1862, abandoned and stripped by local populace, set afire by Confederate authorities

    Displacement 750 t.
    Length unknown
    Beam unknown
    Draft 6'
    Depth unknown
    Speed 12 mph
    Complement unknown
    one 100-pdr Parrott rifle
    two 24-pdr howitzers
    one 12-pdr rifle
    one heavy 12-pdr
    Propulsion steam

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    Size Image Description Source
    Sumter 23k
    Thomas Sumter, (born August 14, 1734, Hanover county, Virginia [U.S.]—died June 1, 1832, South Mount, South Carolina, U.S.), legislator and officer in the American Revolution, remembered for his leadership of troops against British forces in North and South Carolina, where he earned the sobriquet “the Carolina Gamecock.” Sumter served in the French and Indian War and later moved to South Carolina. After the fall of Charleston (1780) he escaped to North Carolina, where he became brigadier general of state troops. After successes over the British at Catawba and at Hanging Rock (Lancaster county), he was defeated the same year at Fishing Creek (Chester county). He defeated Mayor Wemyss at Fishdam Ford and repulsed Colonel Banastre Tarleton at Blackstock (both in Union county) in November 1780. After the war Sumter served in the U.S. House of Representatives (1789–93; 1797–1801) and in the U.S. Senate (1801–10). He was the last surviving general officer of the Revolution. Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor was named for him. Text from the Encyclopedia Britannica
    Bill Gonyo
    General Van Dorn 255k "Battle of Fort Pillow, 3rd Position" Engraving published in Rear Admiral Henry Walke's Naval Scenes and Reminiscences of the Civil War in the United States ... (1877), depicting the action between the Confederate River Defense Fleet and Federal ironclads near Fort Pillow, Tennessee, 10 May 1862. Confederate ships, seen at left, include:
    CSS Colonel Lovell,
    CSS General Beauregard,
    CSS General M. Jeff Thompson,
    CSS General Bragg,
    CSS General Sumter,
    CSS Little Rebel and
    CSS General Earl van Dorn. The Federal ironclads, in the center and right, are:
    USS Carondelet,
    USS Cincinnati,
    USS Mound City,
    USS Benton,
    USS Saint Louis,
    USS Cairo and
    USS Pittsburg. A tug is seen in the right foreground.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 42755
    Tommy Trampp

    CSS General Sumter / USS Sumter
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01CAPT. Montgomery, James E. CSNJanuary 1862 - 7 April 1862CS Junius Beebe
    02CAPT. Lamb, William W. CSN7 April 1862 - 6 June 1862CSS General Sumter
    03LT. Erben Jr., Henry USN6 June 1862 - August 1862USS Sumter
    Courtesy Bill Gonyo

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    Last Updated 22 July 2016